Karin Wadsack

Karin Wadsack Project director and technical expert
Northern Arizona University
Energy policy, energy education, and tribal clean energy development
Phone: 928-523-0715

Subject-Matter Expertise: 

• Utility-scale renewable energy grid integration
• Energy education – public, K-12, and policymaker
• State, tribal and federal energy policy


Karin Wadsack serves as a project director for NAU’s School of Earth Sciences & Environmental Sustainability, managing a number of research and outreach initiatives. Her primary focus is on renewable energy policy analysis and electricity grid modeling research. She leads NAU’s engagement in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Four Corners Wind Deployment Resource Center, and heads up a federally-funded effort to provide technical support in clean energy policy and project development to Tribes in Northeastern Arizona affected by the closure of the Navajo Generating Station. She is principal investigator for NAU’s Collegiate Wind Competition Team and the Arizona Wind for Schools initiative. For that project, she was recognized in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Energy as Young Wind Advocate of the Year. For NAU, she co-chairs the Energy Action Committee of the Environmental Caucus and serves as a technical expert for Northern Arizona University’s Tribal Clean Energy Resource Center. She has more than 15 years of experience in renewable energy, climate change and environmental policy as well as international development, business and project management.

Outside the university, she is a water commissioner for the City of Flagstaff, serves on the citizen advisory group for the Coconino County zoning ordinance rewrite, and is an advisor for the Coconino Community College sustainable construction program. She also serves as a volunteer Spanish language translator (verbal and written) for the City of Flagstaff’s environmental program, and is the Co-Chair of the Arizona chapter for the Women of Wind Energy.

Karin has served her community as: a board member of the regional Sustainable Economic Development Initiative (SEDI); a member of the Technical Advisory Committee on wildlife monitoring for Perrin Ranch wind energy facility; a member of the stakeholder group that wrote the Energy Element for the Coconino County Comprehensive Plan; a member of the planning and zoning committee for the Distributed Wind Energy Association; chair of the Energy Project Team for SEDI; a steering committee member for a tri-university Arizona Clean Energy Initiative led by ASU; a member of the stakeholder group that drafted the Rainwater Harvesting ordinance for the City of Flagstaff; an organizer for the Water Braiding Conference on the convergence of western and Hopi science on water issues in 2009; and an organizer for the Landscape Conservation Lecture Series at NAU in 2008.  

Previously, Karin taught construction and managed rainwater harvesting projects as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia and worked in system design and installation for a solar and wind company in Ohio.

Research / Publications / Conference presentations (Selection):

Wadsack, K, D. Willy 2016. Integrating Wind Energy Topics Across Disciplines in University Education.

Wadsack, K. C. Corbin, C. Giffin, 2015. Arizona Wind and Solar Status Report.

Wadsack, K. S. Propst, M. Dutton, A. Ormond, 2015. Supporting Regional Wind Development Success: A University, Industry, Non-profit Partnership.

Wadsack, K, M. Lamb, 2014. Keys to Success in the Arizona Wind for Schools project.

Wadsack, K, C. Corbin, R. Douglass, J. Rundall, 2013. Arizona Wind and Solar Status Report.

Wadsack, K, A. Kipple, A. Hoseyni, T. Acker, 2013. Valuation of Distributed Wind Systems.

Wadsack, K, A.M. Chischilly, T. Acker, M. Khatibi, 2012. Northern Arizona University’s Partnerships with Tribes for Renewable Energy Development.

Wadsack, K., K. Ordean, and C. Corbinmeyer. 2012. Arizona Wind and Solar Development Status Report.

Wadsack, K. and W. Auberle. 2011. Wind for Schools: A Cornerstone for Sustainable Energy Education.

Wadsack, K., W. Auberle, and C. Schlinger, 2011. Ground Zero for Wind Energy Development Policy: The Navajo County, Arizona Experience.

Wadsack, K. and T. Acker. 2010. Modeling Economic and Environmental Impacts of Wind Development in Arizona.

Wadsack, K. and T. Acker. 2010. Policy Solutions for Increasing Economic Impacts of Wind Development in Arizona.

Wadsack, K, 2009. Arizona Wind Development Status Report.

Wadsack, K, 2009. Work in Progress: Net-Zero Energy Initiative in Northern Arizona.

Awards / Recognitions:

  • U.S. Department of Energy WindPowering America – Outstanding Young Wind Advocate 2012

  • Doris Duke Conservation Fellow, 2008-2009.


B.A. Government, College of William and Mary

M.M.C. Mass Communications, Arizona State University

M.S. Environmental Sciences and Policy, Northern Arizona University